I have tried to be pretty transparent (maybe too much so) on this blog. I’m a person who needs a whole lot of activity/people – then a whole lot of “downtime” to rejuvenate – then more people. I didn’t always understand that about myself. And somehow, as I moved into retirement, I thought I would be a “different” person. Not sure why – just realized that I was holding on to some odd perception that I would be very different in retirement.
The transition to managing ALL my time has been more rocky than I anticipated. But going out to various sites and blogs, I’ve found my experience is pretty standard/normal. We prepare ourselves as best we can financially, but neglect to prepare ourselves for not only the change in our schedules, but the change in other people’s perceptions of who we are, the challenge to values we didn’t even know we were holding on to, and the need to be with/be away from people.
I did the classic thing that a lot of folks do in their initial retirement. I jam packed my schedule with lots of volunteer and other activities – thinking that would cure the loneliness and insecurity I was feeling. Turns out – just like the retirement sites warn – that is common and doesn’t really work. Now I have to spend a bit of time walking back from those commitments.
I’ve rediscovered some wonderful activities that I had only been able to dabble in during my work years. I’m reading a lot – every day – and I love it. I have indulged myself in a splurge of detective stories, gothic novels, and a bit of “quality” reading. It has been lovely!
I’m also sorting through my interests and, while others are “decluttering” their homes, I’m focusing on “decluttering” my interests. I like to do, create, know about a LOT of things: blogging, writing, crafts of all sorts, soaping, face painting, balloon twisting, web design and usability….you get my drift. But the reality is, I won’t live long enough to do all the things that I find interesting. I’m not going to toss them – but I am going to think through which ones I truly want to deep dive and then let the others be available to me if the notion strikes – but not carry a load of guilt if I don’t get to them. Maybe I’ll pass along some of the equipment and supplies – maybe I won’t. But I’m learning how to love to know and do and yet leave myself room for those pursuits that give me the most happiness.
This is getting a bit long, and I haven’t added a single link to anything else others might find interesting. Sorry about that. I’ll just end by saying – it gets better in retirement. It takes time to adjust. I’m not there yet, but I am seeing some light. I’m also incredibly grateful for this little capsule of time when my mind is still functioning, my health is relatively good, and I have the love of my life with me in a home we greatly enjoy. Life is good and, whatever comes, that is true.